Bio-One of Topeka decontamination and biohazard cleaning services

What to Do If You Encounter a Crime Scene

A Step-by-Step Guide to Handling Crime Scene Encounters

For immediate assistance with crime scene cleanup, contact Bio-One of Topeka 24/7 at (785) 288-0645 for discreet, compassionate services. Our local team is proficient and equipped to manage all traumatic situations effectively.

The Hidden Biohazardous Consequences of Crime

It’s unnerving if your property has become the scene of a crime. It might have been a crime directed at you, or your property was the location of a random crime. Either way, it’s a traumatic event for you and others. 

To make matters worse, the crime might have resulted in biohazard contamination. Biohazards are biological materials that pose a threat to human health. 

The following types of crimes often result in biohazardous conditions:

  • Homicides and Violent Crimes: These often involve blood, bodily fluids, and tissue, which can contain pathogens like HIV, hepatitis, and other bloodborne diseases.
  • Suicides and Accidental Deaths: Similar to homicides, these scenes can be contaminated with biohazardous materials such as blood and other bodily fluids.
  • Assaults: Physical assaults, especially those resulting in injuries, can leave behind blood and bodily fluids.
  • Drug-Related Crimes: The manufacture and use of illegal drugs can create biohazards. Methamphetamine labs, for example, involve toxic chemicals and residues that are hazardous.
  • Unattended Deaths: When a body is not discovered for an extended period, decomposition can pose significant health risks, as decomposing bodies release fluids and can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Infectious Disease Contamination: In cases where a crime involves an individual with a contagious disease, any biological material they leave behind can be considered a biohazard.
  • Animal Cruelty or Death: Crime scenes involving dead animals can also present biohazards due to decomposition and potential diseases carried by the animals.
  • Biological Terrorism: Incidents involving biological agents (like anthrax or ricin) are extreme examples of biohazardous crime scenes.

In all these scenarios, specialized cleaning and decontamination methods are required to restore the area and safely prevent other health risks. 

When Crime Strikes Home: Managing Biohazard Risks and Recovery

If a crime resulting in a biohazard has occurred on your property, here are the steps you should take:

  • Ensure Safety: Unless a victim needs assistance, don’t touch anything and avoid the affected area. Call 911 immediately to report the crime, and if there’s any chance you might be in danger, go to safety, but inform the operator of your location.
  • Avoid Disturbing the Scene: Don’t clean or touch anything. Preserving the scene is vital for the investigation.
  • Follow Law Enforcement Instructions: Cooperate with the authorities and guide them regarding the investigation and procedures.
  • Seek Professional Cleanup Services: After the police have released the scene, contact a professional crime scene cleanup service to handle any biohazardous materials.
  • Contact Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance provider about the incident to understand your coverage for damages or cleanup costs.
  • Seek Support if Needed: Incidents like these can be traumatic. Consider counseling or support services for emotional assistance.

Who Cleans a Crime Scene After the Investigation?

The cleaning of a crime scene is typically handled by specialized crime scene cleanup teams rather than law enforcement or crime scene investigators. These teams are trained in dealing with biohazardous materials and have the expertise to clean and disinfect areas affected by a crime safely. The process includes several key elements:

  • Biohazard Removal: The primary concern is the removal of biohazards, such as blood and bodily fluids, which may carry infectious diseases. Specialized cleaning agents and methods ensure that these hazards are thoroughly eradicated.
  • Decontamination: The area must be decontaminated to ensure no biological threats remain. This step is crucial for the health and safety of future occupants of the space.
  • Odor Removal: Biological materials can leave strong odors that are difficult to eliminate. Crime scene cleaners use industrial-grade products and techniques to remove these odors.
  • Restoration: The goal is to return the crime scene to its original state. In severe cases, this might involve minor repairs, such as painting and replacing carpeting, or more extensive work.
  • Disposal of Hazardous Materials: Any materials contaminated with biohazardous waste must be disposed of according to specific regulations to ensure they do not pose a health risk to the public.

Crime scene cleanup teams operate with a high degree of professionalism and sensitivity. They understand the emotional and traumatic nature of their work, especially in cases involving violent crimes. They also ensure compliance with all relevant health and safety regulations. 

In most cases, the property owner is responsible for arranging and paying for these services. However, some insurance policies may cover the costs associated with crime scene cleanup.

Why You Should Never Clean a Crime Scene Site Yourself

Without the right training, equipment, and cleaning solutions, your cleanup efforts may be inadequate, leaving harmful remnants behind. Considering the infrequent use and high cost of proper equipment and chemicals, self-cleaning isn't cost-effective.

  • Health Risks from Bodily Fluids: Bodily fluids like blood, saliva, and urine can carry diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Cleaning these without expertise increases the risk of infection.
  • Chemical Exposure Dangers: Using strong cleaning chemicals without proper knowledge and protective gear can lead to skin rashes, respiratory issues, or more severe health problems.
  • Urgency of Cleanup: Quickly removing biohazards is crucial for health and safety. Delayed or improper cleaning makes properties uninhabitable and poses significant health risks.
  • Emotional Toll: Dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event is stressful enough. DIY cleanup adds to this stress, making it advisable to leave the task to professionals.
  • Inexperience and Ineffectiveness: Most people are unprepared for biohazard situations. Inadequate cleaning can lead to dangerous conditions, making professional remediation the safest option.

Understanding the Risks: What to Look For in Professional Cleanup

Professional crime scene cleanup companies should possess several essential qualifications and attributes to safely and effectively handle their work's complex and sensitive nature. These include:

  • Training and Certification: Employees should be trained in handling bloodborne pathogens, hazardous waste management, and the proper use of personal protective equipment. 
  • Compliance with Health and Safety Regulations: The company should adhere to all relevant local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines, including OSHA regulations for handling biohazardous materials.
  • Proper Equipment and Cleaning Agents: To decontaminate and restore a crime scene safely, appropriate personal protective equipment, industrial-grade cleaning agents, and specialized equipment are necessary.
  • Insurance and Liability Coverage: Adequate insurance coverage is essential to protect against potential liabilities that can arise during the cleanup process.
  • Experience and References: A track record of handling a variety of crime scene cleanups, along with positive references from previous clients, indicates reliability and quality of service.
  • Discretion and Sensitivity: Given the often traumatic nature of their work, cleanup crews should operate with discretion and sensitivity towards those affected by the crime.
  • Legal Disposal of Biohazardous Waste: The company must have the means to dispose of biohazardous waste legally and safely, following state and federal laws.
  • Availability for Emergency Response: Many situations require immediate attention, so a 24/7 availability for emergency response is a significant asset.
  • Ongoing Education and Training: Regular updates in training and education to keep up with the latest best practices in biohazard cleanup and safety standards.

Restoring Normalcy: The Final Step in Overcoming a Biohazardous Crime Scene

Managing a biohazardous crime scene extends beyond just the immediate cleanup. It involves understanding the risks, following the right procedures, and ensuring that the area is returned to a safe and habitable state. This process is about eradicating visible signs of crime and safeguarding the health and well-being of those who may come into contact with the area.

Dealing with a crime scene on your property is a multifaceted challenge. It requires a careful balance of immediate action, adherence to legal procedures, and emotional resilience. Following the steps outlined above, property owners can navigate these difficult waters with a clearer understanding and a sense of preparedness. Remember, the goal is to clean up, heal, and recover from the incident.

For immediate assistance with crime scene cleanup, contact Bio-One of Topeka 24/7 at (785) 288-0645 for discreet, compassionate services. Our local team is proficient and equipped to manage all traumatic situations effectively.

Tips when calling for cleanup.

Crime Scene Cleanup FAQ

What is involved in crime scene cleanup?

Crime scene cleanup involves removing and decontaminating biological and hazardous materials from a crime scene. This includes blood, bodily fluids, and tissue cleanup.

How much does crime scene cleanup cost?

The cost of crime scene cleanup varies depending on the extent needed, but it typically ranges from $1,000 to $5,000.

Are your crime scene cleanup services available 24/7?

Yes, we offer 24/7 emergency services to respond to crime scenes promptly.

Does insurance cover crime scene cleanup?

In some cases, homeowner's insurance or crime victim compensation programs may cover the cost of crime scene cleanup. It's advisable to check with your insurance provider.

How long does a typical crime scene cleanup take?

The time required for crime scene cleanup varies based on the severity of the scene. It can range from a few hours to several days.

Are your crime scene cleanup technicians trained and certified?

Our crime scene cleanup technicians undergo specialized training and certification to handle biohazardous materials and follow strict protocols safely.

What types of biohazards are cleaned during crime scene cleanup?

Crime scene cleanup addresses biohazards like blood, bodily fluids, tissue, and other potentially infectious materials.

Can I clean a crime scene myself?

It is strongly discouraged to clean a crime scene yourself due to the risk of biohazard exposure. It's safer to hire professional crime scene cleanup services.

How can I find a reputable crime scene cleanup company?

Look for companies with proper certifications, experience, and positive reviews. You can also ask for referrals from law enforcement or your insurance provider.

What safety measures are taken during crime scene cleanup?

Crime scene cleanup professionals wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and use specialized cleaning agents to ensure safety and thorough decontamination.